appraiser walking with clipboard near homeowner

How Long Does An Appraisal Take? The Home Appraisal Timeline

March 21, 2024 4-minute read

Author: Victoria Araj


Buying a home is rarely a quick process. Even after your offer is accepted, there are still a number of steps to complete before you can move into your dream home, including a home appraisal. Appraisals are crucial to the home buying process because they allow both the buyer and the mortgage lender to feel confident in their financial investment.

What goes into a home appraisal, though, and how long does an appraisal take? Let’s explore the basics of appraisals as well as the factors that may affect your ability to keep moving forward.

What Is A Home Appraisal?

In real estate, the home appraisal process determines the fair market value of a home, which ensures the buyer is paying a fair price for the property. As opposed to the in-depth home inspection, where the inspector is specifically searching for any and all small defects, a real estate appraiser is more focused on the overall value and basic condition of the home.

The appraiser will consider the home’s overall condition, any upgrades or improvements made to the property and do market research into similar homes in the area to calculate a final appraised value, which is then compiled into an appraisal report and sent back to your mortgage lender.

Home buyers with an appraisal contingency included in their offer can attempt to negotiate a new price if the home is appraised lower than the asking price. If not, the buyer can walk away from the sale without a loss.


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How Long Does A Home Appraisal Take?

Generally a home appraisal can take a few days or weeks to complete, depending on the home being appraised and the area it’s located in. Common reasons for appraisal delays can include the complexity of a property and the appraiser’s schedule.

This process is similar to getting a refinance appraisal, although homeowners who are refinancing their property are allowed to attend the appraisal, while home buyers are not.

What’s The Home Appraisal Timeline?

To give you an idea of how long an appraisal might take, we’ll show you what the timeline for a home appraisal typically looks like:

  1. Ordering an appraisal: An appraisal is typically scheduled 48 hours after the offer is accepted.
  2. On-site home appraisal: This depends on the property and appraiser, but the appraisal itself can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.
  3. Buyer receives appraisal report: You can expect the full appraisal report roughly 6 – 20 days from beginning of appraisal process.

Take a look below and see why certain stages can take longer.

When Is An Appraisal Ordered In The Loan Process?

Once your offer is accepted your mortgage lender orders the appraisal. The home appraiser is a third party (not you or the lender), and they usually work through an appraisal management company (AMC). Once the appraisal has been ordered, they’ll typically contact you within 48 hours to schedule a visit to the home.

What Does An Appraiser Look For?

On average, the on-site appraisal visit can take as little as 30 minutes or up to a few hours. Keep in mind this amount of time may differ with a drive-by appraisal.

When a real estate appraiser examines a property, there are several factors they consider, including:

  • Exterior integrity: An appraiser will observe the quality of the home’s structure, construction, roof and foundation, and look for any flaws or damages. They may also note the home’s location and neighborhood when determining its value.
  • Internal condition: Appraisers will examine the interior quality of the home, such as the square footage, number of rooms, layout and structural integrity. Plus, appraisers will verify that the home has basic necessities such as a furnace (although they won’t test the furnace – that is part of a home inspection).
  • Comparable sales (comps): An important part of your appraisal report involves the appraiser researching similar properties in the area, commonly referred to as comparable homes (comps), and using that as a guide for the current value.

When Does The Buyer Get The Appraisal Report?

Depending on certain factors, home buyers can expect to receive their appraisal report within 6 – 20 days from the beginning of the appraisal process.

After the real estate appraiser has collected the necessary information about the home, that information is then used to put together an appraisal report, which serves as a complete property analysis and tells the mortgage lender the final approximation of the home’s value.

The time it takes an appraisal report to be finished can depend on factors like the following:

  • The size or complexity of the home being appraised
  • The appraiser’s own workload or schedule
  • When the mortgage lender ordered the appraisal

In addition to the home’s condition, the appraisal report will also provide a detailed market analysis.

What Happens After The Appraisal?

Once you and your lender have seen the appraisal report, what happens next depends on the report’s findings.

If the home had a low appraisal, meaning the property’s value was deemed less than the sales price, the sale could hit some roadblocks. The mortgage underwriter will likely only approve you for a loan amount matching the appraised value. You can try and talk the seller into lowering their asking price, but if they refuse, you might have to cover the difference with your own money or else back out of the offer. Unless you have an appraisal contingency in place, walking away could cost you your earnest money deposit.

If the appraisal comes in matching or exceeding the sales price, you can proceed with the closing process, possibly with some gained equity.

The Bottom Line

Appraisals are an important part of the home buying process and can even help you renegotiate if the appraisal is different than asking price. The process can take up to a few weeks to complete, depending on timing, scheduling and the complexity of the property. Once the appraisal is done, and everybody’s happy with the results, you’ll be one step closer to closing on your dream home.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.